JOHN Johnston has signed an extension to his contract and will remain an Altrincham player for the next two years at least in a major breakthrough for Phil Parkinson's rebuilding plans.

Alty's flying winger was one of the first to be tied to a new deal when it was announced a fortnight ago that he and double player-of-the-year Tom Hannigan had signed on for next season.

But in a move that reflects Alty boss Parkinson's determination to keep a highly-successful squad intact for the foreseeable future, he has now secured one of his top attacking threats until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

A popular figure with team-mates and supporters, Johnston's commitment to the Alty cause has never been in doubt, and he needed little persuasion to add another 12 months to his agreement, following discussions with the club.

Parkinson's first signing for Alty, he hit the ground running with 20 goals in all competitions in a spectacular debut season at The J.Davidson Stadium that culminated in the Robins being promoted as Evo-Stik Premier champions.

He again underlined his ability to contribute goals from wide positions last season, scoring 14 times from 41 league starts as Alty pursued a second successive promotion and reached the National League North play-offs before going out on penalties in a semi-final cliffhanger against Chorley at Victory Park.

His form during the campaign earned him a place in the National League North team of the year, and Alty's contract offer indicates the importance Parkinson attaches to retaining the nucleus of a squad he started putting together shortly after arriving from Nantwich two years ago.

The Alty manager has so far recruited just one new face this summer, after snapping up highly-rated young defender Toby Mullarkey, and another more familiar one in striker Tom Peers, who rejoins the Robins from FC United of Manchester.

He has otherwise concentrated on retaining leading lights from last season, with James Jones, Sean Williams and Simon Richman the latest to sign on.